Coming together to build an artist-centric NFT marketplace

Are you a Caribbean-based artist or photographer? Every other week seems to bring the promise of a new NFT marketplace, but few have come to pass — and none have made a dent in the market dominance of OpenSea, Foundation, Rarible and other incumbents.


What most of these efforts have lacked is the right combination of technology and high-quality artistry.


Puerto Rico artists
From left, JD Lasica, Veronica Isabel, Christina Lewis, Carlos Davila Rinaldi and Gus Adolfo.


We’re out to change that … one lunch at a time.


Today I had the chance to sit down with four outstanding Puerto Rico artists during lunch at Chicharrón in La Plaza del Mercado in the Santurce neighborhood of San Juan. At the table were well-known local artists Gus Adolfo, Christina Lewis Vizcarrondo, Veronica Isabel and Carlos Dávila Rinaldi. Carlos is on board, and we’ll have continuing conversations with the other artists, but on the whole we had a positive conversation that allayed some of the skepticism that artists rightly bring to the table.


Over appetizers we learned a bit more about each other’s work and craft, then dove into discussions of generative art, AI art, blockchain, art sales and getting visibility for community-backed projects. I outlined some of the things we’d spent all of 2022 working on with the Amberfi technology platform, which will power a number of NFT marketplaces starting early in the new year with one that is regional in nature — confined to works by Caribbean artists or those with regional roots.


The Amberfi-powered site (which will be announced soon) will feature a number of firsts that focus on two large pain points in the NFT space: security and usability.


The team at Amberfi is made up of technologists and creatives (artists, photographers, authors) who are building marketplaces for both brands and creators. So we know first hand about the pains that afflict the sector. Fraud, piracy, scams, copyminting. Complexity, inside jargon, barriers to entry.


Three works by Gus, among the top NFT artists in Puerto Rico.
Three works by Gus, among the top NFT artists in Puerto Rico.


For instance, we hired a top-flight New York legal firm, Klaris Law, to work with us to devise a new set of NFT licenses that address the real-world ways in which people want to use NFT artworks while giving creators complete control over how they will allow buyers to use their works. The licenses are now live at nftlicenses.org.


We hired a small team of designers and UX experts to make the registration, crate and purchase flows understandable to normal folks who know nothing about crypto.


The first question we ask in our Create NFT flow is: “Did you create the work you’re turning into an NFT?” What other marketplaces even bother to ask that fundamental question?


I’ll detail how we’re solving the security and usability problems in future posts.


But this lunch was not a demo — it was the kickoff of a series of conversations with members of the creator community. After the holidays we’ll be spanning out to bring together DAOs, creator groups and social good organizations in an effort to continue to inform the makeup of these marketplace communities. (And to have their members rewarded in return.)


Because art and creativity are about much more than selling stuff.


If you’re interested in testing out the marketplace for Caribbean artists we’ll be announcing soon, contact me and I’ll invite you into the test site and our Telegram group. 

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